A National Virtual Town hall COP20: Canadian Youth

On Nov 20, 2014, over 300 students from six high schools across Canada came together to collaborate in a Virtual Town Hall to discuss the youths’ vision for Canada’s position going into the United Nations Climate Change conference (COP 20). This is a summary of the day told through Twitter.

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  1. From Edmonton to Toronto, Brampton to Laval, the youth of Canada exchanged ideas, debated alternatives and ultimately created a document that represents their voice on a Climate Action Strategy. The Virtual Town Hall, an “archetype of grassroots democracy,” was the culmination of over a month of online teamwork, 1500 hours of student collaboration, over 100 hours of teacher facilitation, and a passion by Alberta’s youth to engage in a national conversation and have their voices heard.
  2. In the month prior to the Virtual Town Hall, student leaders, systematically chosen from each school to represent Canada’s diverse geographic and demographic population, met on a weekly basis to exchange ideas, work with and listen to experts, and create a common framework going into COP20.
  3. Equipped with this knowledge and empowered through 21st-century technology, the student leaders facilitated a full-day virtual town hall with 300 of their peers.
  4. The students started the day with a national conversation on climate change and its impact on our economy and environment with local and international experts to address three critical questions.
  5. Question 1:
    What actions should be expected both from the youth of Canada and the government of Canada in order to reduce carbon emissions or to meet targets for international agreements on climate change?
  6. Through international co-operation, national initiatives and official commitment to our goals, we believe environmental sustainability can be achieved through Canada’s leadership.
  7. As climate change is the defining issue of our day, the Youth recognize that the choices we make today are the ones we will inherit tomorrow. Canadian youth believes our country has the moral obligation to become a leader in environmental sustainability.
  8. Question 2:
    Given the challenges Canada has had maintaining the commitments made in past agreements, i.e. Kyoto, should Canada seek to sign on to another multilateral agreement? As youth of Canada and the world, what position should Canada take on key components such as GHG targets, penalties and consequences and potential non-participation by key international players?
  9. Question 3:
    What obligations do technologically advanced countries, in the fields of clean energy or GHG reduction, have in helping reduce emissions in lesser developed countries, whether it be providing technical expertise, infrastructure, or financial aid?
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